Top 10 FREE things to do in Los Angeles

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It’s a city for all budgets and there are some great ways to experience it without spending a dime

The glitz and glam of Los Angeles don’t have to come at a high price. It’s a city for all budgets and there are some great ways to experience it without spending a dime. For example, the views, as in our featured image by Payton Chung, are free!

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
Griffith Observatory. Photo by LifeSupercharger
The view from Griffith Park
The view from Griffith Park. Photo by modernrockstar

1. Star Gaze:

The Griffith Park observatory has much to offer walk-in visitors for no cost at all with exhibitions and displays. Also the view from the observatory – which is atop one of the highest hilltops in the park – displays the expanse of Los Angeles below and the Pacific Ocean beyond

Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles
Melrose Avenue. Photo by

2. A different type of star gazing:

Head to renowned shopping district Melrose Avenue where trendy shops draw youngsters, hipsters and starlets; paparazzi can often be seen angling for a shot in the midst of cruising traffic which makes stars easy to spot – just look where the lenses are pointing!

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
Sunset Boulevard. Photo by section215

3. Stroll into the Sunset:

Home to LA’s creatives, stroll to Sunset Boulevard and soak up the artistic atmosphere. Stop into Silver Lake’s hipster bars that are fast becoming popular hot spots for Angelenos in the know.

Los Angeles graffiti
Los Angeles graffiti. Photo by Lord Jim

4. Watch Paint Dry:

LA murals are something of a city treasure, demonstrating the cultural past, present and future. You can plan your own little tour of public murals by checking out for a comprehensive listing of the neighbourhoods and stories behind the works of art.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo by on_the_wings

5. Art & Jazz:

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) offers a free Friday night Jazz Series (from 6-8pm April – November) where the finest jazz musicians from across the Southern California region play. A great way to end or begin a viewing of LACMA’s great exhibitions.

The Dresden, Los Angeles
The Dresden. Photo by lisa_eglinton

6. Clubs without covers:

Great dance spots without cover charges can be found in most neighbourhoods; in Silver Lake try Akbar, in Los Feliz, The Dresden offers festive live music. Santa Monica’s Circle Bar is hot with the 20-something crowd, and Downtown’s 740 offers free Friday night entry before 10:30pm.

Chinatown, Los Angeles
Chinatown. Photo by Sam Howzit

7. See and Sip:

Chinatown Art Nights happen quarterly and are a draw for local art aficionados. The galleries in this area open their doors, showcasing many up-and-coming talents and mark their artists as the ones to watch. They also provide complimentary wine and refreshments though if visitors have worked up more of an appetite, Chinatown restaurants such as Hop Louie, Yang Chow and Full House are consistent art crowd favourites.

Farmers Market, Los Angeles
Farmers Markets. Photo by

8. Farmer’s Markets:

LA has a great array of Farmer’s Markets which offer a perfect place for free snacks and these are the places where chefs seek out the freshest seasonal produce for their cuisine. If there’s only time to visit one, the Original Farmers Market should be it; this Los Angeles institution has been offering fresh produce, speciality foods and authentic ethnic cuisine to visitors and locals for almost 80 years.

The Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The Getty Museum and the view of Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by justin_vidamo

9. Museums:

Los Angeles boasts over 300 museums and galleries – many of them with free entry. Visitors can explore must-sees such as The Getty, LACMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and the Huntington with its beautiful botanic gardens as well as insider favourites like the Autry National Centre which also holds a weekly farmer’s market, cutting-edge art institution the Hammer museum, and Craft & Folk Art – the only museum in Los Angeles dedicated solely to exhibiting handmade art since 1965.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier at twilight. Photo by

10. Music Festivals:

Whether a fan of jazz, blues, alternative or music to put on your dancing shoes, Los Angeles hosts a variety of music festivals and concert series through to the end of September. Free events include Summer Music at the Original Farmers Market, Universal CityWalk where the music and entertainment’s top emerging and established talent perform in their Music Spotlight Series, and – now entering its 28th year – the Twilight Dance Series which takes place on the Santa Monica Pier and showcases a different music genre every week.

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Top 10 FREE things to do in Los Angeles was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3252 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!